Re: [Usability] The basic problem of creating new documents


On Tue, 2004-01-27 at 21:55 -0500, Curtis C. Hovey wrote:
> > That's (almost) exactly what I do, but it doesn't change the basic fact
> > that a document has to exist before it can be opened and edited...
> You are rightly making a distinction between _New from template_, and
> _New document_.  We do need a global registry of document types that the
> desktop is aware of.  Instead of deciding the best application for
> creating a document, the user would be better served by a dialog asking
> what kind of document the user is making, and it selects the
> application.  The user need not learn which applications handle what to
> do a simple task like create a letter.  The dialog should be accessible
> from the Actions menu and as a folder context menu.  This would be a
> valuable feature for users who are new to GNOME, and provide a
> consistent mechanism for GNOME and distributors to select the primary
> application.

The dialog wouldn't even have to chose an application, it could just
create a new document with the given mime type. All applications which
can handle this mime type could then be used by the user to open and
edit this document (in most cases just by double-clicking the file). 

> > I don't like this very much to be honest. First of all it's no real
> > improvement, it still breaks the object metaphor as the user has to
> > start the _application_ first and work on a virtual buffer, which will
> > then magically transform to a document somewhere on the hard disk. It
> > also doesn't seem very practical to me, because I'd rather create a new
> > document right at the place where I'm currently working at (just like
> > I'd create another sub-folder).
> > Of course this is indeed a possibility, I could add a "New Text
> > Document" item in the applications menu which would just create an empty
> > document on the desktop or somewhere else. It just wouldn't be very
> > elegant or comfortable. :/
> If we relabeled the menu items from 'Spreadsheet' to 'New spreadsheet',
> you scenario is fixed I think.  After all, many applications start a
> blank document when done is provided at launch time.

You mean in the current applications menu? But this would still make it
impossible to create new documents inside another location, unless this
menu is available as a context menu or something.
And like I wrote above, one main question seems to be if an application
should be started to create the new empty document, or if Nautilus
should create it directly, like it would create a folder or template.
I'm hugely in favor of the latter case, because it seems much more
elegant and flexible to me. 

> This does bring up some non-document application issues.  These kinds of
> apps don't have a file menu so there is no way to say they create
> anything. In the case of the System Monitor, the is no new.  Some
> applications, instant messaging for example, don't have documents, but
> do have connections, channels, people--we could apply the object
> metaphor, but that might be awkward.

I do think that there should be a clear separation between creating a
new empty document and getting a new "device" object, like a calculator
or instant messanger. For example it would seem kind of silly to me to
have a "Create new calculator" item inside a folder sub-menu. Currently
I'd just keep the Applications menu, but offer a way to create new
documents at any place for document based apps.


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